During my seven years as a Division I coach
and seven years consulting with junior golfers
and families in navigating junior golf, I can
confidently say that a junior golfer’s success
in the recruiting process hinges on his/her ability
to take ownership of his college process. There
are a number of key ways to remain proactive,
and the following tips can positively impact the
college recruiting process and your ability to
identify a best-fit college(s).
- Have the proper perspective –
The recruiting process can be unpredictable and
is certainly more of an art than a science.
Understanding that there are varying levels of
competitive opportunities at the collegiate
level and that there is a corresponding place
for everybody to play college golf is an
important perspective to maintain throughout the
- Take an inventory of your golf and
academic abilities – Evaluate your
current academic resume (GPA and SAT/ACT) and
your future academic goals. Additionally, take
an honest inventory of your tournament results
and competitive experience. Finally, what is
your commitment to both academics and golf?
This honest self-evaluation will provide you the
proper data points as you begin to target
schools that match your academic and golf
- Do your due diligence online –
An essential aspect of being proactive is
researching in depth your schools of interest.
Use the Ping American Golf Guide (www.collegegolf.com),
and Junior Golf Scoreboard (www.njgs.com)
as resources, as well as each respective
university’s website. Pay particular attention
to the scoring averages of the top five players.
Ask yourself, if only five players travel, how
would I potentially fit?
- Email your information to your target
list of schools – Once you have done
your due diligence online, you can develop a
preliminary list of schools. Send an
introductory letter, golf and academic resumes,
swing video, and upcoming tournament schedule to
the golf coach at each target school. I also
suggest you select a few “reach” schools as well
as a few “safety” schools to complement your
list of potential best-fit schools.
- Visit campuses – There are two types of recruiting visits, "unofficial" and "official"
visits. Unofficial visits to a college campus to meet with the golf coach are at the prospects own expense and are
allowed September 1 of his/her junior year in high school and as long as it does not occur during a recruiting
dead period. Official visits are paid for by the university and can last up to 48 hours. Prospects are allowed five
such official visits during their junior or senior year in high school. These visits
are one of the most important action items in
the recruiting process. The opportunity to see
interested campuses firsthand (preferably while
classes are in session), meet the coaches and
players, and tour the golf facilities is
essential. Equally important is seeing other
on-campus attractions, such as the dorms,
recreation center, library, and dining areas.
If you are unable to meet the coach during your
visit, make sure to follow up with him via email
to let him know you have seen the campus and
surrounding area. Also, it is worth noting that a student is allowed to visit a campus anytime, but
cannot, as mentioned above, meet with a coach or athletic department staff member until they begin their junior in high
- Attend a college golf
tournament – Observe how college coaches
interact with their players, the level of
competition among the players, and the overall
atmosphere of a college golf event. Admission
is free and the public is welcome. Go to (www.golfstat.com)
or a local university’s website to find a
tournament near you this fall and/or next spring.
- Compete – Continue to compete
in multiple-day tournament competition at the
local, regional, and national levels. The level
of competition you choose will depend on your
abilities, age, and college ambitions.
Multiple-day tournaments most closely simulate
the college format and will provide coaches the
necessary information to properly evaluate you
as a prospective student-athlete.
- Know the NCAA rules –
the NCAA rules and regulations will allow you to
confidently communicate with college coaches, as
well as ensure you are meeting the necessary
academic requirements to compete in college.
Please visit The NCAA
Eligibility Center.to familiarize yourself
with the NCAA recruiting rules and eligibility
- Promote yourself and continually
revise your target list of schools – As
you navigate through the recruiting process, it
is imperative you continually evaluate your
target list of schools to ensure they align both
with your abilities and your college ambitions.
If you are not getting the interest from
specific coaches or schools, it may mean you
need to broaden your scope of
colleges/universities to include other regions
of the country and/or less competitive programs.
I would encourage you to also take a close look
at Division II, Division III, and NAIA
colleges/universities. Throughout the process
you should consistently forward email updates
and initiate phone calls to coaches regarding
your golf and academic happenings, as well as
commentary on how their respective teams are
performing as a way to personalize your
In the recruiting world it is important to be
positive, remain open to all possibilities, and
be proactive. Remember, there is a place for
everybody to play college golf. Utilize the
aforementioned recommendations as you navigate
your way to college golf.